Sadly, scammers seem to be everywhere. When we think about scams, most of us picture confused elderly people getting taken advantage of. In reality, some scammers are quite good at what they do, and anyone can fall victim. Your best defense against scammers is to stay on top of current scamming trends and know what to look for. Here are four of the most common ploys to look out for in 2019.

House Flipping Courses

As TV shows featuring house flippers have become increasingly popular, more and more people are pondering the perks of the real estate business. Unfortunately, flipping houses isn’t as easy as your television makes it look — and this creates an opportunity for con artists.

Real estate education companies have popped up everywhere, promising to teach students the tricks of the flipping trade. Many, however, simply sell increasingly expensive training packages and seminars that never offer any actionable information. The Better Business Bureau recommends finding out exactly what you’ll learn before purchasing these courses.

Bogus Real Estate Lenders

Real estate scams take on a number of different looks, from predatory lending to fake strawman buyers. One of the most common is a hard money scam where lenders ask for a large upfront application or processing fee. Unfortunately, the loan is never approved, and the application money isn’t refundable. Scam lenders may also try to change the terms of your deal.

DoHardMoney.com warns that you should never trust a lender that approves a loan for a property they haven’t physically inspected or who assures you that bad credit isn’t an issue. If your credit is making a mortgage difficult to obtain, be suspicious if one lender tells you a different story than all the others.

IRS of FBI Imposters

Unfortunately, scammers now have technology that allows them to confuse caller ID systems. Community Tax talks about how a scammer will block his information or change it, making it look like someone is calling you from the IRS, FBI or other government agency. When you answer the phone, these con artists will claim you owe the government money and demand immediate payment. Many claim the police are in route to arrest you if refuse to pay.

In reality, agencies like the IRS always mail a bill if money is due. They will never call and demand immediate payment. If, however, you’re unsure after receiving this type of call, hang up without providing any information to the caller and then call the IRS, FBI or other agency directly to ask about the matter.

Timeshares

Timeshares have been around for years, and they’re still going strong. Although they can work for some, most people who invest in a timeshare find themselves spending money on maintenance and other fees without getting much use out of the property. Once you’re in, however, you may have trouble leaving your timeshare depending on how your contract is written. Your only way out may be to sell your timeshare stake, and this isn’t always easy to do.

Finn Law Group cautions that scammers will take advantage of this situation by calling and offering to help you sell your timeshare. Many will claim to have a potential buyer lined up. They’ll ask you to pay a fee to help facilitate the sale and find a buyer, but then they disappear with your money. In reality, the scammer never had a buyer or any interest in helping you sell your timeshare.

Knowing about these four common frauds will help you spot them quickly and protect yourself from them. These scams are some of 2019’s most popular, but scammers dream up new plans all the time. Always act with caution, pay attention to details and trust your suspicions when a deal seems too good to be true.

Here’s another article about scams from the New Hampshire Review!